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In One Day!

As I opened my bible to Zechariah, I noticed an abundance of tightly scribbled notes in the margins of chapters three and four. My old KJV, chain reference Bible was an early gift from a friend back in the late 70's.

Now that I am in my late 70's, a magnifying glass was necessary this morning to navigate my notes!

Back in those days, I would spend hours preparing to communicate the "why" behind how we live, work and worship as believers. I was truly a corporate churchman, working my way toward "full time" ministry. After all, that is what I was taught to do, "in the world, but certainly not of it!" Once my life had been redirected by a quite unexpected epiphany, I was eager to learn the ropes.

Little did I know the journey would take me through five major sectors, only one of which was a role in the Institutional Church. All, I am now convinced was a means of observing God's people in various callings, each critical to the heart of God and the world "so loved."

The irony of my early beginnings was that I was solely focused on winning the world over to the concept of church, well perhaps primarily attendance! I have now had to re-learn what it means to truly love the world, and all the people in it. Loving them regardless of their religious orientation, the latter never likely our Creator's objective, in fact it got him killed!

The life I was living prior to my epiphany was quite a selfish approach to others, one convincingly in contrast to the Christ I had come to know. So, early on I was easy prey to evangelicals when asked to help grow and sustain their churches. Though beyond that circle of churches, seldom invited back.

There's a message there, too!

My core means of ministry was convincing others of their sinfulness. In fact, I could share lot of stories and share consequences as "chief of sinners." Able to convince many of their need of a savior, then even how best to find a "good" church, and begin a disciplined life as guided by the Book!

That was in my early church life and in part still the case, though quite buffered by life experience. However, I am now having second thoughts, given where things have gone on my Boomer watch! Wisdom, I assume?

In no way does my current transistion in approach have to do with a disappointment in the faithfulness and blessings of the Lord in my life, all that quite convincing and I am blessed abundantly. Moreso it is has to do with the deep love I have for those in and around all mankind, even those living as I once did. Those yet convinced of the benefits of a life surrendered to the Christ. Note I did not say churched, though my wife and I still are.

I'm beginning to believe this shift of late in my comfort with American Christianity comes from observation of those who profess such, but employ other means than grace alone to sustain themselves and convince others of their way. These last few election cycles haven't helped.

Some of those in similar straights as myself, speak of finding a solace in a "deconstruction" process, an unlearning, so as to find new truth. Folk used to refer to that as "praying through."

Such simple remedies seem lost in the fray of a life wrapped so tightly in the rigors of religion and the tensions within our republic. You won't know what I mean unless you were there in simpler days or are in conversation with those who currently seem to have left "the faith." Not all of the latter, though some having depart hurch, have left their walk with Christ.

Zechariah of all places, now seems loaded with insights for our day. Fresh prophetic nuances of alignment between the three Joshua's (English translation for Hebrew name, Yeshua)

Joshua number one was Moses' successor; number two, the High Priest in Zechariah's day, and the BRANCH he references, likely a Joshua as well, Yeshua, Jesus (Ancient Greek for Yeshua).

Joshua, the High Priest spoken of by Zechariah was the person chosen to rebuild the Jewish Temple after the Jews returned from Babylonian captivity.

Zechariah had a vision of Joshua, the high priest of Jerusalem, wearing dirty clothes. In the vision, an angel of the Lord placed clean garments on Joshua and charged him to walk in righteousness.

The soiled garments perhaps religion's judgement, while the same were then seen as clean garments through the Lord's lens. We always seem to point out sin, while God sees potential!

The biblical text credits Joshua among the leaders that inspired a momentum towards the reconstruction of the temple in Ezra 5:2. Men seem always working toward buildings in which God would might again dwell. God, however was about fashioning a Body!

The two Joshua's, first in the succession of Moses, then in Ezra's day, foreshadowed the Son of God. The first Joshua led Israel into the promised land, the second out of captivity, and now the third, Yeshua provides both freedom and the promise of full potential, with us becoming the temple.

Christ in us has always been "the hope of glory."

Jesus was referenced as the better High Priest in the Book of Hebrews, one after the order of Melchizedek, the priest who first offered blessing to Abraham. Now, a more perfect high priest, one "touched by the feelings of our infirmities." The Good News were best spoken in his last words, "It is finished!"

Done, once and for all as reiterated in Hebrews 9:11-14.

Interestingly enough, moreso than rebuilding of the Temple, the point God slipped into Zechariah's writing as far back as 520 BC was about us becoming the temple:

"Listen, High Priest Joshua, you and your associates seated before you, who are men symbolic of things to come: I am going to bring my servant, the Branch.‭‭. See, the stone I have set in front of Joshua! There are seven eyes on that one stone, and I will engrave an inscription on it,’ says the Lord Almighty, ‘and I will remove the sin of this land in a single day. ‘In that day each of you will invite your neighbor to sit under your vine and fig tree,’ declares the Lord Almighty.”

‭‭Zechariah‬ ‭3:8-10‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Seven eyes? Perhaps, John's seven churches. Note how well they get along, like neighbors though each with their own challenges per John's Revelation! Competition is not a God thing!

As to the single day? I believe that was Calvary, God raising his hand to volunteer himself as religion's long required lamb, driving a stake as it were in the skull of the long feared serpent of Moses' garden.

The work is now finished!

We make this thing called grace, too difficult, perhaps our means is the problem.

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Joshua 24:15

15 But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”

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